You see them in windows. On balconies. On the street. Well, maybe not on the street. But, if you look hard enough you might. In a city that loves Halloween, anything is possible. You can look around the city in every ward, on every street and you’ll see Halloween spookiness. .
But, for the real adventure head to the French Quarter. That’s where the real stuff comes to life. Or, comes to death. It’s everywhere. While there is a big parade called Krewe of Boo, you’ll find some of the weirdest people wandering around in the best costumes throughout the Quarter on the big night. If you haven’t been to the city on Halloween, you owe it to yourself to come on down.
Before I sound too much like the tourism board, check out the picture carefully. The skeleton is wearing eyeglasses and has hair. You don’t see that very often.
No matter what, it’s all in good fun. So, have some.
I had a sort of half awake dream a couple of nights ago. I had a little trouble falling asleep. When I finally did, I had a kind of dream almost immediately. Or, I thought that I did.
There was someone standing next to the bed. He was dressed in old fashioned house painters clothes. White pants. White t-shirt. He may not have been a painter. That was just my impression of him.
He was just there, next to the nightstand. All I could see was his body. His head was behind the lamp. His feet were out of my line of sight. It was so real that I reached out to touch him. I couldn’t. Either my hand went through him or he backed up, out of my way. I decided to look down at his legs. There was just a sort of mist. When I looked up again, he was gone.
I have no idea if I was dreaming in deep REM state, or if I was half awake and seeing things. Eventually, I fell back asleep. Or, dreamed that I did. That was it for the dreams.
I have no idea what it means. There are different definitions of what dreams mean. I believe in the one that says a dream is an answer to a question that hasn’t been formed yet.
If the guy was really a house painter, what is the question?
Was he something else? Just because he was dressed in white pants and a t-shirt doesn’t mean that he was a painter. Maybe he was a milkman. Or, a donut delivery guy. You had to grow up in Southern California to understand that. Once there was a company called Helms Bakery. They sent their trucks far and wide to bring donuts to your door.
The picture. It’s layered. It started with a building structure. I added all sorts of layers to it. It feels a little bit like Halloween because the lamp in the window turned into a spooky red ghost.
It seems that digging into my past work is necessary, but not rewarding.
I can’t keep posting it. For sure, you’ve never seen it. It’s new to you. But, it’s not where I’m at now. In the summer of 2019.
This picture is brand new. As usual, I saw it on the way to some place else. I was in a hurry. I was lucky that the cross caught my eye. Photographer’s luck. When I actually pressed the button, I didn’t see it for what it was. I saw it for what it could be.
Vision aligning with reality.
And, then going further.
I’m not making a statement about religion if this gothic cross means that to you. I don’t attack other people’s belief systems. As the late John Lennon wrote, “whatever gets you through the night.
I am making a statement about my sense of the world right now. We are broken. Everybody seems angry about even the littlest things. The doors and windows are closed. We are taking extreme positions about almost everything.
There’s no point in this.
I’d like to see the window frame painted nicely. I’d like to see the cross glowing. It like to see another version of this picture where everything is sparkling.
Working in a coal mine. I don’t work in a coal mine. It’s just that on some days it feels that way. I shouldn’t complain. Making pictures and arguing with technology isn’t dirty work.
Here I am doing my job. Sorta. I couldn’t figure a way to keep myself out of the picture and still make the picture I saw, so I just left myself in. It’s kind of like power lines on a city street. If you can’t find a clean angle than just leave them alone. Make them a part of the scene.
There’s been a lot of big news this week. I like the news about finding a tribe in Brazil that have never seen modern man. Apparently, the government is actually doing the right thing by leaving them alone to just live their ancient lives.
You thought I was going to talk about something else didn’t you? Ha! I have one thing to say about that. MAGA. My Attorney Got Arrested.
The tourists haven’t awakened yet. The only folks out are locals. Either they are getting ready for church. Or, they are getting ready to work. Or, they are just coming come from a long overnight shift somewhere in the Quarter.
Before they go where ever they are going, they stop for breakfast. At the Clover Grill. They can eat heartily. They can eat 24 hours a day. And, they can eat in a place that has been around for a long, long time. It’s one of those places where everybody knows your name. And, you’ll never know what will happen. I’ll leave it at that. If you ever go there I want you to be surprised.
Oh. You want to know where it is? Lower Bourbon Street. At Dumaine. On the corner. You can’t miss it.
The picture. One from the archives. When I first returned to New Orleans I used to go walking in the French Quarter on Sunday morning. The light was wonderful. There weren’t many people on the street. It wasn’t too hot, but I did have to deal with the early morning goopiness. Eventually, I stopped doing that in favor of photographing second lines. Because of the decline of the number of second lines, I may resume walking the Quarter on Sunday morning. We’ll see.
Yesterday started with a mass shooting in Las Vegas. The numbers kept growing. From two, to 20 to 50, to 58. Dead. And, the wounded. Somewhere well over 500 people. People. Human beings. Attending a concert. Listening to music.
Then there was me. I was right. I should have been a doctor. The osteoarthritis that cost me a hip eight years ago has migrated into my spine. In four places. And, it seems that caused a slight twist to my spine. Or, it is caused by age. I have been referred to an orthopod. My doctor upped my pain meds slightly. And, added one more drug to quiet the neuropathy which is caused by the nerves in my back being pressed by my spine.
I lead a weird life. I know a lot of musicians. The phone rang. Tom Petty suffered from complete cardiac arrest on Sunday night. Then the rumors started showing up on Facebook and Twitter. Another phone call. No brain activity. So, his life support was disconnected.
And, he died.
And, we cried. For the people in Las Vegas. For me. For Petty.
Funny thing, Petty just finished his 40th Anniversary Tour with three nights at the Hollywood Bowl. He got to play for his adopted hometown fans. He wanted to stop touring and just make music.
We tried to play his music. It just made us sadder. But, one song lead to another and it lead us to another Florida musician. Jimmy Buffett. His music always makes me smile. It did its job again. We are smiling through our tears.
The picture. I know. I promised you scary pictures. For Halloween. But, but, but… I made this picture about ten minutes after I learned that my back was slowly turning into hardened cement. I was walking across this glass enclosed bridge from my doctor’s office to the rest of the hospital, when I saw this picture. I thought, “Oh, what the hell” and pressed the button. I didn’t know that the sky was crying.
He rose from the dead. Sort of like Jesus Christ on Easter. Tom Petty is alive. Hanging on by a thread. CBS admitted their mistake. So did everybody else. I got my information from a member of his touring crew who was called by a reporter asking for comments. Even though he had no comment, the reporter went with the story. As did just about everybody else.
If you wonder why the media has such a bad reputation, why the clown who wants a crown can attack them and call everything fake news, this is an example. We’ve gotten to the point where legitimate media doesn’t bother to do their jobs. They just run with something an entertainment agency posted on their website.
You’ve got people like me, and like my musical miss, upset as we could be on what has already been a horrible day. Damn. Musicians like Sir Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan were expressing their condolences on Twitter, on Facebook and through Rolling Stone Magazine.
It’s gotten to the point that I have to ask. Who do you trust?
The pain meds are taking care of my back. They aren’t getting me high. That’s good. I don’t want to be nonfunctional. But, one of my legs hurts because of the nerve pressure. Trust me. If I have to buy a little scooter to get around, mine is coming with huge speakers. I’ll plug Spotify into them. You’ll hear me coming.
“And, I won’t Baaaack Down.” — Words from Tom Petty.
At 8:24pm PDT.
Petty’s management announced what we knew was coming. Tom Petty had passed. The tributes started flowing again. Bob Lefsetz, a long time music industry player and guru, wrote this.
“His death is like a death in the family.”
And, that he knew his post was too long — like this one — but if he kept writing Petty would still be alive to him.
And, that Petty’s music was infused in American life. He is right. Even folks who are not fans of his music know it. It is just there. Everywhere. And, so…
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not slighting the people who died needlessly in Las Vegas. I cannot wrap my head around that. Why do people kill so many people for no reason we’ll ever know? I’m still trying to come to terms with that.
Storyteller has been updated three times. Usually, my updates are for editing reasons. Not this time. I started writing it after the first announcement of Petty’s passing. My final update was written this morning. It’s the post that never stops. I’m sorry for that. Normally, I’m a fairly concise writer. I guess the events of the day — yesterday and today — are really just too much for me. Or, maybe, anybody.
And so it goes.
RIP Tom Petty. 1950 – 2017.
RIP 59 people who were shot and killed in Las Vegas. I’m sorry that I don’t know all of your names. Eventually I will. We all will.
I suppose that depends on which three you mean. For me, it was a friend, Bernie Jones, with whom I worked in my newspaper days. That was a couple of weeks ago. Then, Anacaleto. And, yesterday it was Pete Turner.
I knew them all. I didn’t know Pete well. I worked with him a little in my Image Bank days. But, along with three other photographers he was the driving force of what I do today. He was one of the fathers of modern color photography. Along with Ernst Haas and Jay Maisel, he taught the world’s photographers what color photography could and should be. The fourth photographer never used color film as far as I know. He was Gene Smith, the legendary Life and Magnum photographer.
We all age. Sometimes we get sick. Eventually we leave the planet. You know, all things must pass. George Harrison wrote a song about that. He left way too early at age 58. According to his wife, Olivia, his last words were, “Love one another.”
Think about that. For a while. A long while.
Me? This is the end of my triplets. For a while. I hope.
You never know.
The picture. I made it in The French Quarter. I did some stuff to it in post production. As Gene Smith used to say, “I want the damn picture to say what I want it to say.” As, Pete Turner used to say in the days of film and adding to the picture in the darkroom, “The picture isn’t finished until the dupe is done.”
One more thing.
For all the young photographers who read Storyteller, learn about all of these guys. Photography wasn’t invented when digital cameras came on the scene. It was invented in the 1800’s and has been improved upon since then. You can grow a lot if you learn about the art and craft of what you are trying to do.
One little thing. A dupe is a duplicate. In the film days, you made corrections or additions on one piece of film. You layered that on the original picture and took a picture of the two. It was time-consuming and painful. If you worked in a darkroom and wanted sharp images, your enlarger had to be set in cement. Literally. And, you better hope a large truck didn’t pass by your building.